View Full Version : My mother is an addict

11-18-2008, 06:39 AM
I have a problem that I need some help with. It is a very long story, but I will try to give you the condensed version. My mother is a pill addict. She has had numerous health problems for the past 30 years and has been addicted to pain pills for that long as well. I have seen her so spaced out that she would lie in bed for days and not get up even to go to the bathroom, we'd have to clean her up because she'd use the bathroom on herself. There are many, many, other instances of things she has done, but that is just to give you an idea of how bad she is. My mom takes an unbelievable amount of pills. Whatever she gets that is what she will take until they run out. If she cannot get a refill, she comes up with some "problem" that requires a trip to the emergency room where she will usually get a shot of some sort along with a prescription.

Here's the problem, my mom will not admit she is an addict, never has. She justifies taking the medication because of her illnesses. When we talk to her about it she just tells us that we have no idea how she hurts. My family and I have tried everything to get her help. A couple years ago she got in such bad shape that we were finally able to convice her doctor that she needed help. She went to a rehab place and stayed for about a week and she stayed off the pills for about six months and then started back. She will go to extreme levels including self-mutilation in order to get pills. She has numerous surgeries over the past 30 years a lot of which were not necessary, she just wanted pills.

Last Sunday she fell and hit her face. She looks like she hit the windshield of a car driving at about 100 mph. I took her to the ER and she ended up with stitches under her and in her lip and has a broken jaw. She was so drunk when she fell, she just got back in bed like nothing happened, I don't think she even felt it. My mom lives with her sister and she has been giving her her meds lately. But, we knew that she was getting something else because there is no way that what my aunt gave her was making her that drunk. Anyway, I took her to the ER and asked them if they'd do a test to see what she had in her system. They did a urine test and her blood alcohol level came back above the legal limit. I couldn't believe it because even though my mom is a pill addict, she has never drank alcohol, not even a sip as far as I know. Come to find out she has been drinking MOUTHWASH. I could not believe it. I'd never even heard of anyone drinking mouthwash.

We do not know what to do. It is very difficult to help someone if they won't admit they have a problem and will not try to help themselves. My mom has lost everything because of pills which she blames on everybody else. She and my dad divorced after 42 years of marriage. For that I am thankful because if they hadn't divorced my dad would be dead by now because she just about drove him crazy.

I realize this post is all over the place, but I hope that you can get an understanding about just how bad things are with her. We had a psychologist evaluate her back before she went into rehab and he told us that my mother accepts no responsibility for her actions and blames everyone else for what is wrong with her. He told us that until she does accept responsibility and wants to get help there is nothing anybody can do for her.

I wonder if she's been on that stuff all these years if she could even get off it if she wanted to. I just don't know, my entire family is just about at our wits end, she needs to be put somewhere, but I don't know where or what to do. Any suggestions??

Thank you all for listening.

11-18-2008, 06:48 AM
Hi Karel

I am sorry that Mom is in this shape. It is hard to recognize, or should I say admit, when we have crossed the line with pills or alcohol. If she is not responding to her family, then perhaps a call to the Department of Aging in your area might get a social worker involved with what is going on with her. She might be more receptive to an outside influence.

All good wishes

11-18-2008, 07:40 AM
Oh Karel,

I am so sorry to hear about this situation you and your family are in. You are right.. SHE NEEDS HELP. However, the Dr. was right.. if she is not ready for help it is not going to matter.. maybe it's time for an "Intervention". Have you ever seen that show? I don't have any magical advice for you besides it sounds like you are doing everything you can to help her get better.. Maybe you could put a call in to her Dr?

I don't know.. I am just so sorry... Hang in there and hang around here.. We are a good support system.. Some of us may have a pill problem or did have one at some point in the past but we are good people and would be more than happy to be there for you.. Sounds like you could use some support.

Here is a question though... It sounds as if you as so busy caring for your mother.. do you make time for yourself? That is important too!
You will be in my thoughts and prayers!

11-18-2008, 08:15 AM
Thank you so very, very much for your concern and words of wisdom. My mother has been in this situation for many years. I believe her addiction goes a lot deeper than just being hooked on the pain pills. She has a mental illness or she has taken so many pills that her brain is just gone. She has always been the type person that you can never love enough or do enough. She only remembers the bad things that has happened in her life, never any of the good things. I've tried to talk to her about it and acknowledged that yes, she has had some bad things happen but so has everyone else in the world you can't dwell on the past because you only make yourself miserable. She is absolutely the most miserable, unreasonable, narcissistic person I have ever known. I've finally come to the conclusion that she does not want to sober up because she does not want to face her demons. She told horrible, horrible lies about my me, my brother and sister and especially my dad, terrible things that were as far from the truth as you can get and to be honest, I really think that in her mind those things actually happened. I know those are terrible words to describe your own mother, but the truth is the truth. We are all just about to the end of our rope because like I said, you can't help someone who will not even acknowledge that they have a problem.

11-18-2008, 09:38 PM
Calling in a social worker is ingenious!!! It's just hard because you can't help someone who doesn't want it. In my case.....I had to crash and lose everything to wake up to the situation. I hope for your sake nothing like that has to happen because it sounds like she gets are meds in mass quantities. Good luck and keep us informed! stay strong.

11-19-2008, 04:18 PM
I wonder if she's been on that stuff all these years if she could even get off it if she wanted to. I just don't know, my entire family is just about at our wits end, she needs to be put somewhere, but I don't know where or what to do. Any suggestions??

Hello Karel,

May I suggest to love her unconditionally; meaning love the woman, not her actions.

Yes, it can be quite a tall order but I doubt you want to leave her "out in the cold" on her lonesome.

If she is really out of control and at risk of harming herself or others, I would look into having her committed. It may just save her life.

Remember that desperate times call for desperate measures.

Respectfully stated,


11-24-2008, 06:18 AM
Well, just an update. My mom is in the psyho unit at the local hospital. She somehow convinced her doctor to call in a refill on her pain meds after she cried and told the doctor that her jaw (which is not broken) was killing her. The doctor only prescribed 20 Tylenol 3s. Tylenol 3s to my mom are like swallowing air, that's why she supplemented with the mouthwash. My aunt, with whom my mother lives, threw out anything and everything that we thought she might try to drink last week. On Friday, my aunt had to go to the bank and my mom went through my aunt's room and tore it all to pieces looking for her pills (my aunt kept them to give to her when she was supposed to take them). Unfortunately, she found a half bottle of mouthwash my aunt had hidden for her own use. You know the rest of the story. Of course, she denied everything as usual. My aunt called me and my brother and my mother was just screaming and literally pitching a fit. My brother and I went over to her house and told her that she either get some help or we were finished. They may not have been the right thing to do, but we are just about at our wits end. We called the hospital and they told us to bring her in. She was admitted and placed in the psycho ward and the doctor is detoxing her. I have requested a meeting with her doctor because my mom will not tell him the truth. She will say that she was abused by my dad, which she wasn't, that everybody is against her, which they aren't and that she does not have a problem and she needs the pain meds for her pain. I hope the doctor will meet with us. I hope that this time they will actually do something to help her. In the past, they detox her and send her home. Something is going to have to be done or she is going to kill herself.

11-24-2008, 06:29 AM
My mom is in the psyho unit at the local hospital. I have requested a meeting with her doctor because my mom will not tell him the truth. I hope the doctor will meet with us. I hope that this time they will actually do something to help her. In the past, they detox her and send her home. Something is going to have to be done or she is going to kill herself.

Hello karel:

Here's a suggestion:call the psych unit and ask to speak with a supervisor. Let them know that this is extremely urgent. Explain the details if asked and remember to request the person's name you are speaking to.

The last thing you need is for her to be released prematurely, now that she is in their care.

Please keep us updated.



11-25-2008, 01:07 PM

I'm so sorry for what is happening to you and your family. I wish there was something I could tell you that would make it all better, but all I can do is send my love and prayers your way. Addiction is hard on family members...I think sometimes it is harder on them than the addict. But you can't fix her, as much as you want to. You try your best, which it sounds like you have, and take care of you. Right now, she needs to be in care..whether that's rehab, a psych unit, etc. The fact is that until she takes responsibility, recovery probably won't happen. I know that is hard to accept, but nobody can change that.

My suggestion is that you take some time for you. All of you. You, your brother, your aunt. Dealing with an addict can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, and before you know it you all will be "addicted to her addiction". If you can, find a narconon or alanon meeting, read "Addict In the Family" (great for family members), go out for a spa day, relax. And whatever you do, do NOT own her actions or her disease. She truly may believe all the negative things she remembers, and we addicts have a way of twisting things so much that we can make others believe it as well. Don't let her do that to you. Love her, but don't feel guilty for what she thinks, remembers of does.

Stay Strong,

11-26-2008, 02:37 AM
Dear Karel,
Your "Mommie Dearest" sounds much like mine for the last 40 years. I'm going to be very blunt about a few things.
First, if you have any children, do NOT let her even know them!! Years ago I thought letting her see her grandson might give her a reason to kick the pills. What it did thirty years later was kill our son. See, over the years they did develop a relationship. Little did I know untill it was to late that she had taught him all about drugs in order to have a drug buddy.
Second, get away from her! She will destroy your life. I know it is hard. I can not count the times we had her comitted, begged her doctors, and rescued her from herself. Then it started all over again with our son. All four times he overdosed he was visting her. We went through rehab with him time after time. By the time he was in his twenties, we couldn't stop him from seeing her. We begged and screamed this last time to come home.
It was to late. She didn't call 911 for 3 hours. He was 30 years old, had an 8 year old daughter, and had been clean for 7 months. We buried him on Nov. 15 2008.
I am sorry to be so blunt, but if the truth saves just one person, it will be worth it.

11-26-2008, 10:24 AM
Oh my gosh, what a tragic story and I am so very, very sorry for your loss. How my mom has kept from killing herself all these years is beyond me. None of her grandchildren will have anything to do with her and she says its because my dad has turned them against her, but I've told her to her face that the reason they don't want to be around her is because she's always drunk on pills. Her doctor called me this morning and told me that mama had refused any long term treatment. he said he is going to keep her until Monday or Tuesday of next week. The doctor told me that she has not had any pain medication since last Sunday when we took her in, but they must be giving her something because she seems too mellow and her speech is kinda slurred. After all this she still says she does not have a problem, I just cannot understand it for the life of me. How cany anybody spend half their life in a fog? She is the most selfish, narcissistic, unreasonable person I have ever known. The doctor told me that the only thing I can do for her is to have her declared incompetent and have a guardian appointed for her. My siblings and I don't have the money to hire an attorney to do that, so we are stuck back into the same old cycle we've been in for the past 35 years. I know you should never give up, but I am really at that point. You cannot help someone that refuses to even admit they have a problem and need help. She is absolutely hopeless and there is nothing we can do, so I suppose she will continue with the same routine until she eventually kills herself.

Thank you all so very much for your advice and concern. You have no idea how much it means to me. I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I do realize that I have much to be thankful for and I am going to focus on that.

11-26-2008, 02:10 PM

I don't even know what to say at this point. I don't think anything I could come up with would make you feel any better.... What I will tell you is that you and your family will be in my prayers. My heart hurts you are going thru this right now. Sometimes life is so unfair. I really hope your Mom will wake up and get help but it doesn't sound too good right now.. Maybe something positive will come between now and Tuesday..

I just sincerely feel for you and I am sending a warm hug to you where ever you may be today. May God bless you and your family.. I am praying for a miracle.

Happy Thanksgiving.. Keep us posted.. I won't be able to be back on until Monday.. No computer at home and I don't work again until then. You will not be out of my thoughts though!


12-01-2008, 10:22 AM
Well, my mom is being released today. The caseworker told my sister and I that practically, she's a lost cause. They told us that she needs to be supervised or she is eventually going to kill herself. They offered to help her into an assisted living facility and she refused it, just as she did the long term treatment that was offered. She told the doctor that she is going back to her sister's, "until she can do better." I don't know what better would be, my aunt gave her two rooms in her home, cooks for her, does her laundry, takes her wherever she needs to go, etc. The reason mama doesn't want to stay with her is because my aunt keeps her meds and gives them to her as she is supposed to take them and she can't lay in the bed drunk on pills all day every day as she likes to do. I do believe that mama would rather live on the streets and have her pills than to be without them in a nice home. The doctors were very nice to us and told us that we had done all that we could do for her, that no one can help her. She only gets about $600 per month to live on. My brother and sister and me paid her rent for her when she was in the apartment or she wouldn't have been able to stay there. There is no way she will be able to get an apartment now if she has to have a good reference. If the health department had gone into her apartment when she lived by herself, they would have condemned it. You just cannot imagine the filth she was living in, and didn't seem to mind it all. My aunt would go over every Saturday to clean for her and by Monday, you could not tell she'd even been there. I hate that she is going back to my aunt's because I know she will drive her crazy. Mama can become very mean when she is off her pain meds. If any of you are religious peope, please pray for her and my family. We are all just about at the end of our ropes.

12-01-2008, 10:37 AM
The caseworker told my sister and I that practically, she's a lost cause. They told us that she needs to be supervised or she is eventually going to kill herself. They offered to help her into an assisted living facility and she refused it, just as she did the long term treatment that was offered.

Hello karel:

They will not hold her and stated that, if left unsupervised, death is inevitable?

Can you contact the mental health association in your area for advice?


12-01-2008, 01:50 PM
Yes, the nurse told me last night that she needed to be supervised or she was eventually going to kill herself. It's true, it is only by the grace of God that she hasn't died before now. The Lord obviously has a reason for her on this earth because she has tempted death too many times. The place the doctor wanted to send her sounded like a very nice place, but she would not even discuss it. She wants to live like she wants, take her pills and be out of her head all the time. My mama apparently has some demons that she does not want to face, that's all I can think of anyway. Why else would anyone want to be out of their head all the time? But, for the life of me, I do not know what it could be. Even though she tells everyone that my daddy abused her, he did not. Nobody believed her when she told it. My daddy would never do anything like that. If anything, he did too much for her. He worked two jobs most of my life in order to pay all her medical bills. She never had to work outside the home and didn't do that much inside the home. I think she has taken so many meds that she dreams up stuff or hallucinates or both. She is really a tormented person for some reason. I don't think she can stand herself when she is sober. All she does is remember bad things in her life, she dwells on them. She never, ever has one good thing to say about anybody or anything. It is so very depressing to be around her. I don't know how to explain the way she is really, I've never met anyone like her. You can't do enough for her, you can't be good enough for her and you can never love her enough.

12-01-2008, 02:32 PM
There are no simple answers. As a recovering addict, I call tell you, it took me many years and numerious health issues before I realized the addiction was killing me.

As a point of reference, my drug was meth -- i snorted, smoked and finally injected. Did the drug for over 15 years, at my peek almost everyday for close to 2 years. Contracted both HIV and Hep-C...and still I couldn't stop. I was a functioning addict -- was able to keep my job and fool the masses. Then that moment of sanity that saved my life. I was going to die, I was going to go from being a statistic, to being a VICTIM. That little thread of sanity, that realization saved my life.

I will tell you this, no amount of begging, no amount of words will change your mothers condition -- she has to change her condition. She has to want to fix her. She has to find what troubles her and stop substituting drugs for it. There has to be some level of response in her that says she wants this. All you can do is support her if she gets there. The road, as you know is not easy, and sometimes you have to give people up to their addictions to save them.

Best of Luck

12-03-2008, 02:14 PM
Well, mama is back at her sister's house. For the time being, she is behaving herself. My sister called my mom's GP and asked that they not give her any more pain pills because she had been without them for 8 days and did not need them. We will see how that goes. I'm sure she will have to make a trip to the emergency room once she finds out her doctor will not refill her prescription - that's what she usually does. When she left the hospital she told the psychiatrist that she would stay at her sister's until she could do better. For the life of me I do not know what "better" would be. My aunt does everything for her, cooks, cleans and does her laundry, my mom doesn't have to do anything if she does not want to. The ONLY reason she does not want to stay there is because my aunt keeps my mom's meds and gives them to her when she's supposed to take them and that makes her mad. When she fell previously she had been drunk all week and we could not figure out how because my aunt had her meds, when I took her to the ER they did a urine test and that's how we found out she'd been drinking mouthwash. The T 3's that the doctor had been giving her did not do anything for my mom so she was supplementing with the mouthwash to get her buzz. Isn't that just sick? She's always condemned drinking saying you'd go to hell if you consumed alcohol and now look at what she has done. The nurse at the hospital told me that mama still swears that she did not drink the mouthwash that she was only swishing it in her mouth because one of her meds made a bad taste in her mouth. Can you believe that, there's no way her blood/alcohol level would have been as high as it was if she had just swished it in her mouth, she had to be drinking it constantly. We knew she was buying a lot of mouthwash, but none of us ever dreamed that she was drinking it, I'd never heard of anyone drinking mouthwash. There is no telling how long she has been drinking it either. I may have done the wrong thing, but I told my mom if she left my aunt's house that I was finished with her, she was on her own. I told her that our family had done everything that we could for her. If she is not willing to agree to any long term treatment or moving into an assisted living facility, or stay straight and stay at my aunt's house, then I do not know anything else to do. The caseworker assigned to her in the hospital told my sister and me that there was nothing we could do. My mom is a lost cause, she does not want to quit the pills for some reason and I have no earthly idea what that reason is. All I do know is that she has just about driven all of us crazy.

09-18-2009, 04:15 PM
I am so sorry tha you are going through all of this with you mother. IT MUST BE SO SAD AND SO HARD TO WATCH HER GO THROUGH THIS.